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Students on the Market

The Ph.D. candidates on the job market for the 2019-2020 year are:

Andrew M. Engelhardtengelhardt

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, Brown University
  • Work Has Appeared In: The Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and Political Behavior
  • Major Fields of Study: American Politics, Political Methodology
  • Dissertation Title: The Race Politics Makes: Parties, Polarization, and Whites’ Racial Attitudes
  • Bio: Drew Engelhardt is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University’s Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy. He studies the dynamic relationship between politics and individuals’ identities and intergroup attitudes. Political conflict throughout the history of the United States has involved the inclusion and exclusion of various groups into the polis. He is interested in understanding how this affects the political relevance of the mass public’s social group attachments and attitudes about these groups, and if these orientations change in response to political dynamics. Across different projects he shows that Whites’ partisanship leads to changes in attitudes about Black Americans, assesses how elite rhetoric shapes the political relevance of individuals’ different group identities, highlights how partisan identities condition behavior outside of politics, and unpacks explanations for racial group divides in attitudes about the criminal justice system.
  • Advisor: Cindy Kam

Oscar Castorenacastorena






Marc Trusslertrussler

  • Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Major Fields of Study: American Politics and Political Communication
  • Dissertation title: The Effects of High Information Environments on US Legislative Elections and Accountability
  • Bio: Marc Trussler’s dissertation focused on the effects of new technologies like broadband internet on representation and accountability in the United States House of Representatives. Work from this dissertation is forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science, and under revise & resubmit at Legislative Studies Quarterly. Marc’s research portfolio extends past the expansion of new communication technologies, with co-authored work on Presidential Primaries (Journal of Politics), experimental methodology (Political Behavior), and consumer preference for negative news (International Journal of Press/Politics). In post-dissertation work, Marc hopes to better understand how a changing media environment affects political behavior and institutions. His ongoing projects include: understanding how American media polarizes Canadian voters; whether new communication technologies like cell-phones and Twitter play a role in intra-party strife, such as the Tea-Party Insurrection of 2010; and how media from large cities may play a role in activating the “Politics of Resentment” in rural America.
  • Advisor: Josh Clinton

Sheahan G. Virgin virgin

  • Name pronounced: Shay‐EN
  • Current Appointment: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Saint Mary's College (IN)
  • Major Fields of Study: American Politics, Comparative Politics
  • Dissertation Title: Extra-partisan Electoral Reform in the U.S.: The Effects of Geographic Self-interest, Core Values, and American Exceptionalism on Electoral Rule Choice
  • Degree Date: August 2019
  • Publications: 2017, Electoral Studies; 2019, R&R - AJPS
  • Teaching Awards: 2018, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University; 2017, Erwin C. Hargrove Outstanding Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Political Science, Vanderbilt University 
  • Research Agenda: 
    • A central tenet in the electoral systems subfield is that parties and their members pursue opportunities to advance partisan objectives via the strategic adoption of electoral rules. This scholarly consensus exists for good reason: after all, partisans not only run for office under a given set of electoral rules, but also, they populate the deliberative bodies that make, as well as the administrative positions that maintain, them. While a focus on parties is prudent, the purpose of my research agenda is to challenge the state of the art by reconceptualizing electoral reform as a process that is more nuanced and richer theoretically than the canonical partisan self-interest approach permits.

    In my projects, I put partisan self-interest to the test by examining a range of other, extra-partisan considerations that motivate political actors—whether elites or the mass public—to favor the adoption of new electoral rules or the adaption of existing ones. Examples of such motivations include: the effect of geographic loyalty on support for electoral college reform (published in Electoral Studies); of predispositional core values on support for absentee voting (invited revise and resubmit at The American Journal of Political Science); and, of nationalistic attitudes such as American exceptionalism on support for ranked-choice voting. The major contribution of this research is that it presents a more accurate understanding of a process that is central to democratic maintenance and renewal: while the (expected) partisan effect of a reform is indeed a powerful motivation, actors possess—and chase through reform—predispositional and attitudinal objectives other than those that are immediately partisan in nature.

  • Advisors: David E. Lewis & Elizabeth J. Zechmesiter (co‐chairs)


Name                        Subfield                     Link to their website

Andrew Engelhardt    American/Methods

Oscar Castorena        Comparative     

Marc Trussler           American/Methods

Sheahan Virgin        American/Comparative